FAO works towards disaster risk reduction in Armenia
11 June 2021
- At a virtual discussion today, Arman Khojoyan, Deputy Minister of Economy, and Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative for Armenia joined key experts to discuss the main findings and recommendations on the comprehensive analysis of the disaster risk reduction system for the agriculture sector in Armenia.
This analysis is part of a series of country baseline studies on disaster risk reduction system in the agriculture sector, conducted by the FAO. The study series includes a total of 16 countries in Caucasus, Central Asia, Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Recommendations on improving Armenia’s disaster risk management regulatory and institutional frameworks, enhancing and modernizing early warning systems and agrometeorological services to better support hazards monitoring, early warning, were discussed during the meeting. The critical role of data collection for evidence building and informed policy decisions were also emphasized along with improved coordination at central and decentralized level for disasters risk reduction, preparedness and response.
The Armenian Government along with enhancing its emergency response potential has acknowledged disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change as national priorities for a resilient future. Consequently, the integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into sector development planning became a key strategic approach for the Government that, however, requires continues improvement of its relevant legal and institutional frameworks.
The Armenia baseline study reviews the current status of disaster risk reduction, and early warning systems in the agriculture sector and agro-meteorology services, including related legislation, policies, capacities and services, and assesses the gaps and needs to improve and strengthen these areas.
“Agriculture is particularly vulnerable to natural hazards and to the effects of climate change, and absorbs a high portion of the overall impact of disasters. Agriculture, however, also significantly contributes to climate change with greenhouse gas emissions generated from livestock, crop production and other land uses,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in Armenia. “It is therefore essential to promote the adoption of good agriculture practices that respect the environment, reduce the depletion of natural resources and loss of biodiversity and lead to sustainable and resilient production systems. FAO is committed to support Armenia in this effort.”
Armenia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world as it is exposed to all types of natural hazards, including severe earthquakes, frequent landslides, hailstorms, droughts and floods that put people at risk and can cause considerable damage that may undermine its development. Due to the country’s dry climate, frequent occurrence of disasters as well as environmental issues, including deforestation and desertification caused by human activities, Armenia is more sensitive to the adverse impacts of climate change.
According to projections of local and international experts, the inevitable raise in a number of hydro-meteorological hazards will increase the risk for soil erosion and loss of soil fertility, reduction of crop yields, water scarcity and lack of irrigation, damage of crops and livestock, increase of pests and infectious diseases.
The FAO study presents critical issues requiring improvement in the areas of concern highlighting their multisectoral nature and a need for addressing the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation challenges in agriculture through systematized and well-planned actions. The study will serve as a basis for further dialogue between the Armenia Government and FAO and other interested parties to identify and realize priority solutions for ensuring informed agricultural development in Armenia.
The study was conducted under the FAO Regional Initiative aimed at supporting sustainable natural resource management and preserving biodiversity in a changing climate’ and will contribute to a region-wide synthesis report on Europe and Central Asia.